KARACHI: The police are looking for at least four to five businessmen, some married, to question them about the rape of a woman in DHA as they attended the same party on Sunday night.
At least two of the men are owners of lucrative petrol pumps, a fact volunteered by Clifton SP Tariq Dharejo. “They have gone into hiding,” Dharejo told The Express Tribune. “We have sealed three of the petrol pumps.” One of the suspects has been described as being in his mid-30s. “We are raiding their hideouts; we also raided one on Wednesday night. We want them to surrender so that they can be questioned,” the SP said.
The names of the suspects have been given to the police by Lal Chand, the flat’s owner where the party took place.
Sources said that the businessmen had attempted to hush up the case by paying Rs2.5 million to either the police or the ‘pimp’ of the victims — who the police believe were sex workers. Dharejo has, however, categorically denied that the police had been made an offer. “Not a single penny has been given to or taken by the police,” he said. “Anyone who does so will be booked.” When asked if the women had been offered any money, Dharejo said, “Perhaps. [But] I cannot confirm if any such offer has been made to them.”
Dharejo clarified some details of the incident. “The second woman, S, who was in the car did make her way back to the flat. The alleged perpetrators only abducted and raped K. We do not know if S was assaulted or if her injuries were the result of the accident.” The victims’ car fell into a ditch when it was hit by the perpetrators’ car. S needed 17 stitches on her forehead, an injury most likely the result of the car being hit.
“We do know that the incident took place between 4:20 am and 6:30 am,” Dharejo went on to say. “At 4:20 am, we have a record of the ignition being turned off in K’s car, and at 6:30 am K’s friend M was called to pick her up from [a popular juice and snacks vendor] in Phase II Extension, DHA. The men, who M has described as being teenagers, dropped K off in their silver Corolla.”
Dharejo also said that at this stage the police are speaking to individuals connected with the events of the party to verify all possible angles. “I am not absolving anyone of their crime, but it is also possible that the women left the party safe and sound and then some other individuals were involved in the crime. We are taking statements from those called in for questioning. We will bring any alleged attackers in front of the victim so she can identify them and as the case develops we will charge those involved.”
Residents say they heard nothing
“This is no area for families. Only ayash people live here,” muttered a grocery store owner in the Seaview area, who works near the building where the party was held last weekend. The event has been described as pivotal to the investigation and reportedly took place at a building on Khayaban-e-Muslim, where Cineplex and the Village restaurant are located. Plainclothes police officials have reportedly kept the building under observation.
A group of men at a tea stall in the area brushed aside questions, saying it was a “dance party” at the house of some “rich people”.
Residents of the area pleaded ignorance about the alleged incident and said they too, had only heard rumours. “It happened in a building,” says one shopper in a store selling mobile phones. “No, no, it happened in a bungalow. It was being used as a guesthouse. There were often these parties there,” said Haseeb, who runs the store. “We heard those women knew the men and there was some verbal disagreement at the party, following which this incident occurred. I can’t tell you anything else; it is not like I was there. The media has just hyped this up.”
“This is a very safe area,” interjected a bearded, older man at the mobile phone store. “I work for the DHA Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI),” he claimed. “We have an ISI mobile here and there are police mobile vans here at all times. This incident happened at 1:30 am but it was an isolated event.” He agreed with the rest of the men at the store that there was more to the incident than had been made public.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 24th, 2010.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ